Tag archives for Endangered
The black rhinoceros is a critically endangered animal. To try to protect the remaining rhinos, some of them have been moved to a new location inside a reserve as part of the WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. The rhinos will be safer from poachers in their new location in Limpopo Province.
One new technique involves airlifting 19 rhinoceroses by helicopter after they had been tranquilized! This is a fast and easy way to move the animals to transport vehicles. “It is also so simple a concept that we are all kicking ourselves that we didn’t do it long ago,” said project leader Jacques Flamand.
Photograph courtesy Green Renaissance/WWF
The tamarisk tree was brought to the United States in the 1800s as a decorative tree, and it was also used to help stabilize the soil on rivers. The tree has thrived in the southwest, crowding out native trees. For many years, biologists have removed the invasive trees by digging them up or using herbicides In 2001, land managers began releasing imported salt cedar leaf beetles in an attempt to help stop the spread of the trees (tamarisk trees are also called salt cedars).
The beetles are doing their job more effectively than expected and have migrated up to 100 miles away from where they were released. Scientists are now concerned that species that have gotten used to the tamarisk trees may have trouble adjusting when the trees are gone. One example of this is the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, which prefers nesting in tamarisk trees even when there are other native trees available.
Iggy Arbuckle has tried a similar trick to eliminate invasive species in the Kookamunga! Watch the video on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Michael Melford, National Geographic
Four common species of bumblebees have been disappearing over the past 20 years. A new study estimates that these populations have declined as much as 96%. The disappearance of the bees is still a mystery, but some scientists think that the bees may have been infected by a fungus called Nosema bombi, which is an invasive fungus from Europe.
Bumblebees pollinate important crops, such as blueberries and tomatoes. They are more efficient pollinators than honeybees.
Read more about this study on National Geographic News.
Read about the honeybee mystery on National Geographic Kids.
Get the facts on honeybees in the Creature Feature.
Photograph by Bill Beatty, Visuals Unlimited
Lun Lun, the giant panda located at Zoo Atlanta, gave birth to her third cub on November 3, 2010. This is the only giant panda to be born in the U.S. in 2010, which is great news for the endangered species.
Zoo Atlanta says the cub is “roughly the size of a cell phone” and is being well-cared for by its mother. Zoo officials will be able to examine the cub next week and determine its gender. Visitors will be able to meet the new cub in spring 2011.
New Zealand’s birds have a problem–they’re too smelly for their own good. The birds produce a special wax that helps to keep their feathers healthy. The wax also tends to give off an odor. In the past, this wasn’t a problem because New Zealand doesn’t have any native mammal predators. But now that humans have introduced predators such as dogs, stoats, and cats to the country more than 40 bird species have gone extinct.
Biologist Jim Briskie of Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand, suggests that deodorant might be the answer. “If we prove that this is a problem, we might be able to envision some kind of odor-eater or deodorant we could put into the nest to absorb some of those odors and protect them more effectively,” Briskie said. But deodorant may not be the best solution. The birds’ smells might be a way that the birds communicate with their mates or offspring.
Can you think of any ideas on how this problem might be solved?
Read more about bird B.O. on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Australia, a country home to many unusual animals.
Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic
BOOK NAME: Nat Geo Wild Animal Atlas
AUTHOR: National Geographic
This is a book that I like. It’s called Nat Geo Wild Animal Atlas. I think it’s cool because it has lots of animals and tells you about the earth: where animals live, what continents they live on, and all kinds of maps.
The book tells about animals ecosystems which are ice caps, mountain, grassland, desert, forest, wetland, tundra, and coral reef.
In this book, it also tells what forest produces the most amount of oxygen–which is the Amazon rain forest in South America. The Amazon rain forest has spotted leopards, blue-and-yellow macaws, red-bellied piranhas, and green anaconda snakes which kill their prey by squeezing it to death.
In Africa, some of the animals you learn about are giraffes, elephants, hyenas, and wildebeests.
This book also tells about which animals are endangered and which are not. It also tells about which ecosystems are in which parts of the world.
The book shows a lot of pictures of animals, what they eat, and what they do. My favorite part of the book was looking at the maps of the continents to see which animals live where. This book would be good for ages 4-10.
Sri Lanka’s Horton Plains slender loris was thought to be extinct since 1937. However, in 2009 two lorises were photographed and examined. Although they aren’t extinct, they are extremely endangered. Scientists estimate that there are fewer than one hundred of the lorises living in the cloud forests of central Sri Lanka. “Potentially this is the rarest primate we’re aware of today,” said Craig Turner, a conservation biologist for the Zoological Society of London.
Read more about the Horton Plains slender loris on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on animals on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy ZSL
A new study predicts that one out of every five lizard species will be extinct by 2080 if global warming continues. When it gets too hot to be in the sun, lizards must hide in the shade and rest, because they are cold-blooded animals and can’t adjust their body temperature. If the Earth’s temperature gets warmer, lizards will spend more time hiding in the shade and less time hunting or laying eggs. Warmer temperatures may mean that lizards starve to death.
Read more about the study on National Geographic News.
Watch a video of “flying” lizards on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Ignacio de la Riva
Scientists at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research recently did something unusual with 24 endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs. They put them in refrigerators! It may sound like a punchline, but the scientists refrigerated the frogs to encourage them to breed. “The cold temperatures mimic high-elevation winter conditions that cause the frogs to hibernate. Typically, mountain yellow-legged frogs display mating behaviors after emerging from hibernation,” said a statement from the zoo.
The frogs went into the refrigerators on January 1, 2010. The scientists are planning to move them to a breeding area in the lab at the beginning of April.
Read more about the frosty frogs on the NatGeo News Watch blog.
Spring peepers are a sign of spring! Why are they so noisy? Find out on National Geographic Kids.
Watch a video of leopard frogs on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Adam Backlin, U.S. Geological Survey
When you think of endangered animals, you probably think of creatures like polar bears, tigers, or orangutans. But plenty of other species that we don’t hear about are threatened by climate change, too. The Wildlife Conservation Society has published a new report listing some of the less well-known animals facing the challenges of a changing world.
The United Nations have designated 2010 as the Year of Biodiversity.
Get started by learning about the animals on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s list!
Matschies tree kangaroos are hard to find in the remote canopy of the cloud forests of Papua New Guinea’s Huon peninsula. By strapping a National Geographic Crittercam to these endangered animals, scientists can learn more about their diet and habitat. Watch the tree kangaroos eat, groom, and climb in this video!
Read the video transcript on National Geographic News.
Watch a video of rock wallabies on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Beverly Joubert
Africa’s lion population is quickly getting smaller and smaller, and action must be taken immediately to save these majestic animals.To raise awareness, the National Geographic Society launched the Big Cats Initiative this month. This project will support programs and education that will help the big cats of the world, with a special focus on lions.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert are one of the big forces behind the project. They are National Geographic Explorers-in Residence who have spent over 25 years studying and working to conserve Africa’s animals, especially the big cats. They want people to understand that when it comes to saving the big cats like lions and leopards, the time to act is now. “”We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” Dereck says.
Learn more about the Big Cats Initiative on National Geographic.
Get the facts on lions on National Geographic Kids.
Play Crittercam: African Adventure on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservationists have been trapping snow leopards in Afghanistan–but don’t worry, they’re using cameras, not cages! To set the camera traps in remote snow leopard territory, the conservationists and park rangers had to travel for a week on horses (or yaks). After setting the traps, they left and waited.
Four out of five camera traps ended up capturing images of the elusive big cats. This is great news for the snow leopards. Due to poaching and humans hunting their prey, there aren’t many snow leopards left in Afghanistan. In fact, conservationists have estimated there are only about 100 of the cats living in the country This estimate is largely an educated guess, but conservationists say that the photos mean that there is a chance for the population to recover.
Learn more about the snow leopard photos on National Geographic News.
Watch a video about clouded leopards on National Geographic Kids.
Australia’s Tasmanian devils are dying off due to a disease called DFTD, or devil facial tumor disease. This contagious cancer is spread when Tasmanian devils bite each other.
In the 13 years since the disease was first discovered, the population of Tasmanian devils has dropped about 70%. Earlier this month, the Australian government officially changed the status of the Tasmanian devil from “vulnerable” to “endangered.”
Get the facts on Tasmanian devils in the Creature Feature.
Watch a video about Tasmanian devils and the contagious cancer on National Geographic Kids.
Read how kids helped Tasmanian devils at a wildlife conservation center.
Learn more about this story from The Guardian.
A baby blue whale has been caught on film! Researchers off of the coast of Costa Rica captured the baby on camera while visiting the “Dome,” a warm-water region that attracts blue whales from hundreds of miles around.
Baby blue whales are far from tiny. At birth, they are an average of 25 feet (7.6 meters) long.
The footage of the baby, as well as images of other blue whales, can be seen on National Geographic’s Kingdom of the Blue Whale. The show airs tonight, March 10, on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. ET.
See a video of the baby on a clip from Kingdom of the Blue Whale on National Geographic News.
Learn more about Kingdom of the Blue Whale on National Geographic Channel.
Think you’re a blue whale expert? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Keepers at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., were surprised when they counted three black and rufous giant elephant-shrew in their exhibit instead of two! The female elephant-shrew in the exhibit probably gave birth to the new baby in January. The baby elephant-shrew is doing well and can be seen in the National Zoo’s Small Mammal House.
See a video of the baby and learn more about the new elephant-shrew on the National Zoo’s website.
Watch a wild elephant shrew and her baby in this video.
Photograph courtesy Zeb Hogan
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Zeb Hogan found what might be the world’s largest freshwater giant stingray in Thailand this month! The giant river ray’s body was an incredible 6.6 feet (2 meters) wide by 6.9 feet (2.1) meters long.
Read the whole post »
A western lowland gorilla named Mandara gave birth to her sixth baby in the Great Ape House on January 10. The zoo isn’t sure if the tiny gorilla is a boy or a girl yet, because Mom’s keeping the baby all to herself for now.
Western lowland gorillas are listed as a critically endangered species, so these births are especially important. There have been seven successful western lowland gorilla births at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. since 1991.
See baby pictures and watch a video at the National Zoo.
Get the facts on mountain gorillas in the Creature Feature.
Photograph by Enric Sala
In the last few days of his presidency, President George W. Bush created three new national monuments in the Pacific Ocean in the largest ocean conservation effort ever. The new monuments will protect Kingman Reef (as part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument), Rose Atoll, and the Mariana Trench, which is home to Earth’s deepest spot.
All three of the protected areas are home to many species, including the giant coral colony shown in the photo above.
Read the whole post »
The largest freshwater fish in North America, the white sturgeon, seemed to be headed for extinction in the mid-1990s. Dozens of dead fish washed up on the riverbanks in British Columbia, Canada. Many people banded together to save the white sturgeon and it seems to have worked. Today their population is estimated to be about 50,000.
Read more about the white sturgeon rebound on National Geographic News.
Want more info on Zeb Hogan’s Megafishes Project? Visit the gallery.
The Orangutan Foundation celebrates Orangutan Week from November 10 to November 16 this year. On Friday, November 14, dress in orange to celebrate Orangutan Day. Ask your friends to wear orange, too! Orangutans are Asia’s only great ape species and they are endangered.
Want to learn more about orangutans? Check out the Creature Feature.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s report, one out of every four species of mammals is facing extinction. Many of the most threatened species are found in Asia, a continent with a growing human population.
“This is leading to habitat loss due to agricultural expansion; development of infrastructure such as roads, which fragment critical landscapes; and increasing areas for industrial crops such as oil palm and pulp for paper,” said Barney Long, a biologist at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C.
Worldwide, habitat loss affects about 40 percent of threatened mammal species, while human hunting affects 17 percent, Long said.
There is hope for mammals, but keeping them off the endangered list will take a lot of hard work. According to the report, 5 percent of threatened species have seen rebounds due to conservation efforts.